20 Best Love Poems For Wedding

by Amy

Love, an emotion as ancient as time itself, has been the muse for poets across centuries. It is a feeling that transcends the mundane, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. Weddings, a celebration of this profound love, often feature poetry that encapsulates the essence of the bond between two people. Here, we delve into 20 timeless love poems that have the power to add an ethereal touch to any wedding ceremony.

The Power of Love in Verse

Poetry and love share a unique relationship. Through verses, poets have managed to capture the complex emotions of love, joy, hope, and even the nuances of partnership and shared life. Including a love poem in your wedding can not only elevate the ceremony but also resonate with the hearts of everyone present, creating a memorable moment that lingers beyond the confines of time.

1. “Sonnet 116” by William Shakespeare

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove…”

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 is perhaps one of the most iconic love poems, ideal for a wedding. It speaks of unyielding and unchanging love, a promise perfect for the solemnity of matrimonial vows.

2. “She Walks in Beauty” by Lord Byron

“She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes…”

Byron’s ode to beauty and love can be a wonderful addition to any wedding, celebrating the inner and outer beauty of love and partnership.

3. “How Do I Love Thee?” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace…”

This poem is a deep exploration of the poet’s love, offering a profound and structured expression of love’s depth, making it a poignant reading for a wedding.

4. “I Carry Your Heart with Me” by E.E. Cummings

“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)…”

Cummings’ poem, with its modernist flair and deep sentimentality, perfectly captures the intimacy of love, making it an excellent choice for a modern wedding.

5. “Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date…”

Another masterpiece by Shakespeare, Sonnet 18, celebrates the eternal beauty of the loved one and the immortality of love through the written word, ideal for a momentous occasion like a wedding.

6. “To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet

“If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can…”

Bradstreet’s poem is a heartfelt declaration of love and partnership from a wife to her husband, making it a touching addition to wedding vows or as part of a reading.

7. “Love Sonnet XI” by Pablo Neruda

“I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps…”

Neruda’s passionate and intense depiction of love and desire can add a layer of depth and fervor to the wedding atmosphere.

8. “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing…”

This poem goes beyond the surface to explore what it means to live and love fully and authentically, making it a compelling and thought-provoking addition to any wedding.

9. “A Vow” by Wendy Cope

“I cannot promise never to be angry;
I cannot promise always to be kind.
You know what you are taking on, my darling –
It’s only at the start that love is blind…”

Cope’s honest and realistic take on love and marriage is both refreshing and relatable, offering a more grounded perspective on love.

10. “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns

“O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune…”

Burns’ classic poem uses the metaphor of a rose to describe the beauty and endurance of love, making it a timeless addition to wedding readings.

11. “Scaffolding” by Seamus Heaney

“Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints…”

Heaney’s metaphor for building a life together, with careful preparation and strong foundations, offers a beautiful parallel to the journey of marriage.

12. “The Good-Morrow” by John Donne

“I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?…”

Donne’s exploration of love as a profound transformation and awakening is both romantic and intellectually stimulating, perfect for a couple who loves deeply and thinks deeply.

13. “The Promise” by Jane Hirshfield

“Stay, I said
to the cut flowers.
They bowed
their heads lower…”

Hirshfield’s simple yet profound meditation on presence, attention, and the beauty of the moment can be a serene and meaningful reading for a wedding.

14. “Touched by An Angel” by Maya Angelou

“We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life…”

Angelou’s poem speaks to the transformative power of love, making it a powerful and uplifting reading for a wedding ceremony.

15. “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd A. Peterson

“The little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day…”

Peterson’s prose poem, though not a traditional verse, is a beloved reading for its practical and heartwarming advice on love and marriage.

16. “Having a Coke with You” by Frank O’Hara

“Having a Coke with You is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian…”

O’Hara’s modern and conversational style, combined with vivid imagery and a celebration of ordinary moments shared with a loved one, offers a fresh and vibrant perspective on love.

17. “Variations on the Word Love” by Margaret Atwood

“This is a word we use to plug
holes with. It’s the right size for those warm
blanks in speech, for those red heart-
shaped vacancies on the page that look nothing
like real hearts…”

Atwood’s meditation on the complexity and various dimensions of love can add a layer of depth and introspection to the wedding readings.

18. “Wedding” by Alice Oswald

“From time to time our love is like a sail
and when the sail begins to alternate
from tack to tack, it’s like a swallowtail
and when the swallow flies it’s like a coat;
and if the coat is yours, it has a tear
like a wide mouth and when the mouth begins
to draw the wind, it’s like a trumpeter
and when the trumpet brings its melody
it’s like a sidearm and when the sidearm shoots
and shoots off nothing but the crookedest
nail, it’s like a song sung by a sailor…”

Oswald’s weaving of natural and human-made imagery to capture the essence of love and commitment offers a unique and lyrical choice for a wedding poem.

19. “Love Is Not All” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

“Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again…”

Millay’s sonnet, with its realistic view of love’s limitations and its ultimate value, can offer a poignant and grounded reflection during a wedding ceremony.

20. “The Confirmation” by Edwin Muir

“Yes, yours, my love, is the right human face.
I in my mind had waited for this long,
Seeing the false and searching for the true,
Then found you as a traveler finds a place
Of welcome suddenly amid the wrong
Valleys and rocks and twisting roads…”

Muir’s poem speaks to the journey of finding one’s true love amidst the chaos of life, making it an evocative and meaningful addition to the list of wedding readings.

Incorporating Poetry into Your Wedding

Choosing the right poem for your wedding can be as personal and unique as the love you share. Whether you opt for the classic and timeless beauty of Shakespeare, the passionate intensity of Pablo Neruda, or the modern reflections of Maya Angelou, including a love poem in your ceremony is a way to honor the depth, complexity, and beauty of your relationship.

Love poems offer a universal language that speaks to the heart. They have the power to articulate feelings that might otherwise remain unspoken, making them an integral part of celebrating love at a wedding. When selecting a poem, consider the emotions you wish to evoke, the themes that resonate with your relationship, and the atmosphere you want to create on your special day. The right poem can become a cherished memory, a declaration of love, and a beacon of your commitment to each other.

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